Preparation for receiving a trauma patient

Most major trauma patients arrive by ambulance/helicopter with a pre-notification call to the Emergency Department so there is time for preparation of staff and equipment.

It can be useful to have a whiteboard in the trauma bay where patient demographic and injury/background details can be documented.


Team preparation

All team members should introduce themselves to the team leader – name, role and rank.

  • Stickers with the team member’s role and name can be useful


The team leader should brief the team regarding the pre-notification of the patient. They should synthesise the available information, outlining the potential life threats and immediate priorities.


Personal protective equipment

Universal precautions should be undertaken by all patients managing the trauma patient

This should include

  • Gloves
  • Plastic apron or (preferably) full impermeable gown
  • Eye protection
  • Lead aprons + thyroid shield for staff members that might remain in the room when xrays taken


Standard hand hygiene rules apply – use hand gel before and after any contact with the patient or the environment/specimens.


Equipment preparation


Based on the prehospital notification and the need for various interventions, equipment should be prepared, which might include

  • Advanced airway equipment
    • Guedel/nasal airways
    • Suction
    • Nasal prong oxygen/hudson mask
    • Bag valve mask
    • Video or direct laryngoscope
    • Endotracheal tubes of appropriate size
    • LMA
    • Surgical airway kit available
  • IV insertion equipment prepared
  • IV lines primed
  • Rapid infuser primed
  • Un-crossmatched blood/blood products available if massive transfusion anticipated
  • Drugs
    • RSI drugs
    • Analgesia
    • Antiemetic
  • Pelvic binder (place on bed)
  • Thoracostomy/thoracotomy tray available
  • Ultrasound turned on